It would be impossible to live by Kant’s strict code of honesty. Lying, according to him, sets a precedent that everyone would potentially follow and if everybody lied then no one could trust each other. To say nothing about the lack of psychological science backing that up, it would lead to mass metaphorical crucifixions. Likely, in the majority of cases, if people don’t lie their lives will be destroyed. If it’s Jon Ronson’s “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”, the excesses of the #metoo movement, to cancel culture, humans have demonstrated such an incapacity for forgiveness that lying is the only way to survive. A world without mercy or forgiveness is a world of universal deceit.
In earlier articles, I argued that anti-social behavior and other transgressions should not always be punished since punishment deters honesty as much as anything else. That the approach should be a discovery process followed by a scientific analysis to determine what would prevent the situation from recurring. There are two easily argued secular reasons for forgiveness. The first is utilitarian, that grudges often manifest in harm to the subject of the grudge and thus, even if they’re fully internal, a general precedent against them would reduce human suffering. The second is that when people are not judged for their behaviors, they are more forthcoming about the truth and situations are more easily and more scientifically rectified because there is more data and less skewed data to work with.
Of course, the majority of people holding the metaphorical pitchforks are hypocrites. If not direct hypocrites, indirect hypocrites in that they have done bad things of equal gravity to the misdeed they are being a vigilante about but that’s beside the point. Kant was, partially, correct in that society cannot survive universial deceit but individuals cannot survive without engaging in it. It is not merely that the logisitics and mechanics of society fall apart when half of the information is phony. Where we live in a meritocracy of people lucky or deft enough to avoid scandal and where the best people at lying win the most in life leading to a ruling class of sociopaths and malignant narcissists. If HR is too pervaise and harsh, the CEO will be devoid of ethics since HR has limited the candidates to skilled and pathological liars. That’s bad enough but the reason for the deceit is universal terror. There is nothing like unending lives of cortisol and epinephrine to fuck people up.
To use the #metoo movement as an example, I don’t think the bulk of people hunting the most benign cases appreciated what fear does to people. Worse yet, some of them probably did and didn’t care. They were not trying to find a scientific solution, through psychology and sociology, to rectify the issue with the least suffering and harm to all parties. They wanted to roll heads and fully intended to cause suffering that no scientist in the field would believe would be needed to accomplish the aims of the movement. In short, they wished to and went about inducing needless suffering. Of course, as mentioned in an earlier article, this punitive approach enlarged the manosphere, the hard right, semi-fascist, men’s rights movement. Had they been more carrot and less stick, they could have converted those men, a portion of them, to feminism. They, in,\ fact, did the opposite and made feminism’s opposition stronger.
As much as I disagree with the manosphere, fear fucks people up. It is a torture people will often do anything to escape and if they feel threatened by a movement then they likely feel the safest route is to declare war on that movement and to sink into a subculture that won’t judge or hurt them. As horrible as the manosphere is, for someone with a sexual harrassment allegation against them, it is a safe, non-judgmental, space where they will get love and emotional support. Donald Trump won’t judge them for their past. In his world, they aren’t monsters. The left fails to appreciate that if they destroy people, those people may become fascists. I’m Asperger’s and while my ideology is nothing and nowhere close to those of incels, I share many of their personal traumas. What can I say? I faced my demons with more courage and grace than they had the strength to but I do know what produces them because I’ve been through a lot of it.
It is something of a romantic tragedy to watch both on an individual and macro level, people rising from the ashes of their life into the warm embrace of a devil who feigns familial love for them and nurses them back to health for the end of winning the heart of another newly-minted minion. The society that bears as its fruit universal deceit, scares many into that warm embrace of false affection. Without mercy, forgiveness, honesty, and grace fascism will be the result. People cannot be terrified and remain sane, it will drive them insane.